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iChange Spotlight featuring Treava Milton

Treava Milton attended the iChange Summer Diversity Institute in six years ago and has stayed in touch ever since. In this interview, she talks about her experience at the Institute, her commitment to DEI education, and her new
role on the iChange Team. Welcome, Treava!

How did the Institute impact you professionally? After that summer, I spent several years implementing what I learned in that week: I made a much stronger contribution to my school’s faculty onboarding process and was able to collaborate on some really cool and creative student-led workshops.   

Tell us about your experience with iChange work. I vividly remember a moment during an exercise when things got real! What was wonderful was that the iChange team was courageous enough to walk the talk with that group – to create the space that we needed to move through that conversation. That moment shifted the tone of the room and the trajectory of the discussion. We got messy, but we made deeper connections, and I made some new friends!  Then I accepted Dr. Danny’s invitation to her Educator of Color Resource/Affinity Group, and I’ve continued to engage with the heartbeat of DEI along with the folks in our group. I don’t know about you, but for me there is something that feels different in the air when I’m with DEI folks. iChange has brought me mentors and sponsors as well as a few friends that I’m still connected with, and for me, that’s the signature of authenticity. I even have plans to visit some friends I made through iChange once COVID gets out of the way! Also, I’ve found people I can reach out to, get counsel from, and lean on for sustenance through some tough times! 

What advice would you give to those starting their journey with DEI work? For me and for many of our colleagues, the call of this work is about our humanness as much as it is about the identifiers we use to describe and differentiate ourselves. I say this work is Herculean because DEI folks are tasked with influencing – changing, no doubt – the minds, hearts, and energies of people. We often find ourselves in the ring wrestling with the truth about our human limitations, and we need to manage the tension caused by wanting to fix it all right now. First, we need to focus on self-preservation. DEI advocates and practitioners should be sure that we have seated people properly in the theater of our lives – sponsors, mentors, friends, associates, and allies are all important. But hey, we need some people we can cry to and fall apart with and be confused and confounded with. To balance that out, we need to practice objective distance from our expectations so we can be realistic. We need to conserve strength so we can get back in the ring and continue to dream.

Finally! Let’s celebrate some wins! It’s important to step back, breathe, survey the land, and measure the progress we’ve made. Then going forward, if we can light the right kind of fire in the people coming after us, passing the baton promises to be joyful and hopeful.

What are you looking forward to in your new role at iChange? I am psyched to join the team! I believe we will change lives and slay dragons together. I look forward to energizing and supporting my colleagues and our clients. When I see the light go on in others, my own light goes on. I’m looking forward to being a part of a process that empowers people, and I know this process works because I’ve seen people leave iChange trainings and enact various forms of agency in their individual environments. I’m happy play a role in that process.

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